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How To Build An Online Learning Community
Valuable online learning courses, including psychology, sociology, film-making, and social media marketing, can provide the adult learners unique connections with like-minded peers and helpful resources to improve their resumés, improve their skills, build up skills for life and career, or expand their skills beyond those offered in their initial degree. An online learning community will provide these resources in addition to community bonding in the form of new friends, books for reference, interesting trivia, and discourse on current events.
1. Create an Online Community
To be eligible for an online community, you must have completed your work in a degree program, or be actively pursuing a degree program and working toward completion.
Getting your program started is only the first part of this process. Many accredited institutions provide online learning communities upon graduating as an incentive to share your educational experiences with others. In addition, effective online communities are social and welcoming. This encourages inquiry, and learning is improved when there is constant discussion of the latest research and academic articles.
2. Encourage Self-Assessment
Commit yourself to completion of the first online community and keep your grades up as well as an eye on retention levels. Take advantage of the community to compare your performance within your program and in the online community.
Start as a mentor, providing guidance and comments on your peers’ research and professors’ lecturing, to keep them engaged and motivated to continue. As the community grows, it will have a renewed focus on maintaining rigor and grade consistency.
3. Create and Promote Community Groups
Community groups work to provide activities and learning opportunities, promoting exchange and partnership between members of the community. Create and maintain a website to publicize activities, events, and activities within the community. Encourage open discussions and encourage open questions to determine best practices. Take advantage of events as venues to share unique information and resources with the community.
4. Select Resources to Enhance Your Community
Research and produce resources for future community events that will help you share current research and learn techniques. While you are organizing, you will want to be sure you align the organization of the events to the overall purpose of the community.
5. Create Knowledge Sharing Groups
The community is not about sharing knowledge, but learning from others. The knowledge sharing groups serve two main purposes: educational exchange and groupbuilding. To make the first group a success, do not only teach members relevant materials, but also cultivate the development of communication skills and skill sets to do so.
Creating knowledge sharing groups means that you are supporting and contributing to an ongoing learning process.
6. Welcome New Members
When connecting to the community, you can connect with anyone who is interested in learning more about the subject matter or related training. The LinkedIn demographic reveals that 85% of who join the LinkedIn group are educated, so consider your target audience and connect with people similar to them.
While you are connecting, take note of the demographics of the Facebook audience. For example, if 50% of Facebook users are between 30 and 39, then consider a Facebook training group if that is the group’s target demographic.
7. Use Community Travel to Improve You and the Community
Educational associations and funding opportunities are available for educational travel to partner schools and colleges. Travel to specific geographic locations can boost your interpersonal relationships and boost the profile of the online community to new recruiters.
8. Work Within the Community to Develop and Promote Youth Programs
Although there are programs specific to different age groups, some programs run the entire length of a degree program. Consider participating in an adult mental health program as a senior employee, or maybe a senior entry-level student could be a peer-to-peer program that could benefit from additional academic advising and support through clinical sessions.
Now that you know how to create and establish an online learning community, be sure to invest in ongoing coaching and support to help you stay focused, motivated, and take action on projects you have in your community. For many, community building can be a meaningful part of their continuing education.
Havvi Patel is the Founder and CEO of Schoolout and Richard Jung is the CEO of Online Learning Center Ltd. Their complimentary Digital Achievers Club helps you take advantage of many opportunities to improve your resumé, develop your skill sets, and develop yourself as a better professional through quality digital education.